Thu | Sep 21, 2017

New Parliament building moves closer

Published:Friday | March 10, 2017 | 3:00 AM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left) and Xuexaun Zheng, vice-president of China State Construction Engineering Corporation, pose for the cameras just after the signing of a memorandum of understanding for the construction of a new Parliament building. The signing ceremony was held at Banquet Hall, Jamaica House, yesterday.

Long-delayed plans to construct a new Parliament building moved a step closer to reality yesterday when the Government, through the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China Construction Company of America (CCA), (South America Division).

The signing of the MoU is the first phase of the project, which will see the CCA providing consultancy services for the design concept for the new Parliament and the proposed 'Government Offices Oval Zone' project.

Speaking at the signing, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that he was happy for the partnership, which signalled the start of great things for Jamaica.

"In concentrating develop-ment efforts, we could become the catalyst for the wider redevelopment of the downtown Kingston area," said Holness.

"The general vision is not just to put up square boxes that rise several storeys. The vision is to build buildings that represent the future of Jamaica. Buildings that show the aspiration of the Jamaican people; structures that when we look at them, we can say we are leaving legacies for future generations, and when you put them all together, you can also say that we are building communities," added Holness.

FOR GREATER EFFICIENCY

Last year, the prime minister announced that the Government would seek to develop a campus of government buildings that would surround the National Heroes Circle, with the intention of bringing together all ministries, agencies, and departments into a purpose-built area, which can be leveraged for greater efficiency, provide greater security and improved service delivery.

"The Government will provide the lands. We will ensure that the regulatory environment works in an efficient and supportive way. We will participate in the design and development of the project. We will ensure security for our Chinese partners, who will be working in Jamaica, and we will ensure that generally, the atmosphere around this project is one that is representative of the good relationship that exists between the Government of Jamaica and the Government of China," said Holness.

The UDC, in 2010, as part of its redevelopment plan for downtown Kingston and Port Royal, designated the National Heroes Circle and the surrounding zone as the space to locate the new Parliament building, a national museum, and government offices

and mixed-use commercial, residential, and service zones around the oval.